And he should get it.
Now, that’s not necessarily the first thought I had, and his performance against Norway earlier today didn’t fill me with confidence, either. Add in how he lost the Carolina starting job to Cam Ward in the playoffs and his collapse in Ottawa, and I’m sure my point of view seems indefensible.
However, the first point I’d like to bring up is that he’s cheap. In the slapshot.ch report, Gerber acknowledged that he would need to take less money to play in the NHL than he would to continue playing in Europe. Asked about an offer between the league’s minimum wage and the $1.0 million mark, Gerber said he would “probably accept” that kind of offer. The article went on to quote former Blues coach Andy Murray, who suggested Gerber might be able to get even more money and praised his play for Switzerland.
The second point is that Gerber’s actually been a pretty good NHL backup goalie. Certainly when he broke into the league with Anaheim he was fantastic, and he had some pretty decent stretches in Ottawa and Carolina. He didn’t do a bad job playing out the string in Toronto in 2008-09, either. And as for the notion that he can’t handle pressure, people forget that it was his brilliance at the 2002 Olympics and in the Elitserien playoffs that got him an NHL job in the first place.
He was also quite good in the KHL this past season, posting a 0.914 SV% over 30 games. Prior to his 3-2 loss to Norway he’d also been very good at the World Championships, with a sparkling 0.957 SV% over the course of three games.
So if I were an NHL team looking for a backup who could challenge my starter, had a strong track record and was willing to come over on the cheap, I could do a lot worse than Gerber.